Many clients have asked me, “What is ViewPoint?”
Simply put, ViewPoint is an extension to FactoryTalk View Site Edition and the PanelView Plus which adds web server functionality to the FactoryTalk View project.
Web Client Compatibility
When Rockwell implemented ViewPoint, they did so as a Silverlight browser plugin that works well on computers running Microsoft Windows or Apple OSX.
However, much like Adobe Flash, on release Silverlight was not supported on mobile devices. And a recent web search reviled that while there is much interest in getting Silverlight to run on Apple and Android mobile platforms, as far as I can tell not even Microsoft's own Surface RT tablet can run the Silverlight web browser plugin.
So for now, running a ViewPoint client is limited to Windows and OSX PC's, including tablet PC's like Microsoft's Surface Pro.
UPDATE 11-06-2017: In version 8.10, ViewPoint went from being a Microsoft Silverlight application to being a HTML 5 application. This change improved compatibility with browsers, operating systems, and devices that do not support Microsoft Silverlight.
That said, many users complained ViewPoint 8.10 was extremely slow, and one of the major features of ViewPoint 9.0 was a 50-70% speed increase in page loading on mobile devices.
ViewPoint on the PanelView Plus:
ViewPoint for the PanelView Plus is actually a free add-on.
For early PanelView Plus models, you'll need upgrade the firmware to version 5.1 with ViewPoint. You'll also need to insure your PanelView Plus has at least 64mb of Flash memory and 128mb of storage space. For details on upgrading memory on old PanelView Plus models see this public Rockwell Technote #68098.
For PanelView Plus 6 models (700 – 1500) ViewPoint is already installed.
Hopefully Viewpoint will also be released for the PanelView Plus 6 600, and PanelView Plus 6 Compact 600 and 1000 by the end of the year.
UPDATE 11-06-2017: Viewpoint is also compatible with the PanelView Plus 7 Standard and Performance.
ViewPoint on the PC:
ViewPoint for the PC is a chargeable add-on for FactoryTalk View Site Edition Station Runtime or Server. ViewPoint does not support Machine Edition Station Runtimes, which to me seems more like a marketing decision than a technical one.
The cost to add ViewPoint to your ViewSE system depends on how many client licenses you need. For a single client license it will run you $1,060.00 (9522-VWP01RENE, as of 11-01-2013) while three client licenses cost $3,180.00 (9522-VWP03RENE, as of 11-01-2013.) The ViewPoint server is included with these client packages, so those part numbers include everything you'll need to add the ViewPoint functionality to your ViewSE system.
ViewPoint in ViewStudio:
After obtaining ViewPoint for your PVPlus or ViewSE system, you'll also need to install the ViewPoint Administration software onto your ViewStudio development system. This software can be freely downloaded from Rockwell's Product Compatibility and Download Center, however you'll need a support contract to do so.
Once installed, you access the ViewPoint Administration Console from within ViewStudio. It's found under the “Application” menu. Then it's a simple matter of chosing which displays will be published to the ViewPoint server, as well as choosing any security options.
The ViewPoint Administration wizard is quite intuitive, and once you're done publishing your displays (with the PanelView Plus you also have to create and download a runtime file) you're ready to connect to your ViewPoint server with your PC's Web Browser. Note: Rockwell currently tests Internet Explorer 6 and 7 and Firefox browsers for use as ViewPoint Clients, however you may find other browsers work as well.
For more information on Rockwell's ViewPoint, please see the following two documents:
I hope the above explanation of what ViewPoint and how it works was helpful. Keep an eye on the blog in the coming days as I'll be posting the steps to publish a ViewME Runtime with ViewPoint. Until then, if you have a comment or question please don't hesitate to click on the “post a comment or question” link below.
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- UPDATE: In version 8.10, ViewPoint went from being a Microsoft Silverlight application to being a HTML 5 application. This change improved compatibility with browsers, operating systems, and devices that do not support Microsoft Silverlight.
That said, many users complained ViewPoint 8.10 was extremely slow, and one of the major features of ViewPoint 9.0 was a 50-70% speed increase in page loading on mobile devices.Is it possible to remotely access the viewpoint server via the internet? if so, any pointers as to how would be great.Good morning ,
IMO, you're best solution would be to install a VPN so you could remotely connect to ViewPoint over the internet.
When the predecessor to ViewPoint first came out, I put a demo server on the Internet and from that moment on it was constantly being attacked and hacked.
In over a decade since nothing has changed, so I never recommend connecting anything directly to the internet, but instead always recommend the VPN route.
If you needed the ViewPoint information to be public, you could install a firewall between the internet and your single ViewPoint PC, opening only the ports needed to expose ViewPoint pages. The problem is you may find this is still a security risk if hackers find a vulnerability in your OS, Firewall, or ViewPoint, which is why a VPN with strong passwords is better imo.
Hope this helps!
Instructor at www.TheAutomationSchool.comMany thanks for the response and suggestion.
I don't believe that VPN is a good route for this instance. I have redundant servers running the FTVSE project and this is displayed via FTVP on a remote industrial pc on the same LAN. The client also wants the ability to dial in FTVP from and external source. The issue with VPN is that its only the servers that are connected to the outside world. I guess i would need to setup port fowarding on the internet router to establish the connection from WAN to the server in order to view FTVP.
AndyGood morning @AndyLadbrook,
You could definitely allow him to "dial into" your FTVP server, but does he really have a phone modem?
If he did, he could view the Viewpoint screens assuming he had a fast connection - I had one customer tell me I was at fault because I didn't tell him ViewPoint wouldn't work over extremely slow 1G phone connection lol!
In any case, today I think VPN's really replace Dial-up modems, and in most plants if you can get a phone line to the ViewPoint Server, you'd likely be able to get an internet or cell connection.
Some companies I've used in the past for dial-up, cellular, and VPN access are below - if you find a product that looks like it will work for you I'd recommend you ask them for a Try-Before-You-Buy to be sure it works the way you want it to 😉
Hope this helps,
My bad use of langauge. When i said 'dial in' i meant connect via a pc over the internet.Good morning again ,
I kind of thought you did. It really is no problem to pull up ViewPoint on mobile devices inside the plant (assuming the plant has wifi,) but to connect safely from the internet would require a VPN imo, something which is supported on mobile devices these days.
Please let us know what you end up deciding to do?